Magazine article Risk Management

Cruise Line Forced to Address Pollution

Magazine article Risk Management

Cruise Line Forced to Address Pollution

Article excerpt

In response to an aggressive campaign led by environmental advocate Oceana, Royal Caribbean cruise lines recently began installing advanced water purification equipment on its entire fleet to properly clean the large daily amounts of sewage and waste each ship creates.

This decision marks a renewed environmental commitment by the company, which in 1999 was fined $27 million by the U.S. government for illegally dumping waste oil and hazardous chemicals in coastal waters and covering up the crime. Royal Caribbean is not alone, however. Nearly $50 million in fines have been handed out to various cruise lines since 1993 for illegal dumping, including Carnival cruise lines' $18 million fine in 2002 for the concealment of their own instances of dumping.

Described as "floating cities," cruise ships can generate up to 30,000 gallons of sewage (or "blackwater"); 255,000 gallons of dirty water from laundries, showers, sinks and dishwashers (also known as graywater); 7,000 gallons of oily bilge water; and seven tons of garbage and solid waste each day, according to Oceana figures.

Given that many cruise lines are based in other countries (for instance, while Royal Caribbean is headquartered in Miami, it is incorporated in Liberia and registers its ships in Liberia, Norway and the Bahamas) and travel in international waters, it is sometimes difficult to monitor and police their activities with regard to pollution, especially since cruise ships are exempt from the requirements of the Clean Water Act, which is designed to cover land-based operations. …

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